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Buffering fitter for Manikato

Robert Heathcote believes he may have too easy on Buffering before the Moir stakes and has stepped up the veteran sprinter’s workload.

Buffering finished fifth in the Group One Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on September 30, his first start since he was injured in the Chairman’s Sprint Prize at Sha Tin in May.

The nine-year-old is set to line up for the fourth time in the Group One Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.

Heathcote was far from disappointed with Buffering’s Moir performance which followed an outstanding trial, run on the course proper, when he almost broke the Doomben 1050m record carrying 59kg.

“In the Moir he never got into his rhythm when Ball Of Muscle wanted to take him on. He is a rhythm horse by which I mean he has to roll along,” Heathcote said.

“But things didn’t go that way and he was caught deep before battling on well.

“Putting it simply – he was too fat. His trial was so good I eased back on him and that was a mistake.

“He worked very well at Flemington on Saturday morning when asked for a full effort. He will do something bit easier on Tuesday.”

Buffering has been nominated for the Group One Darley Classic at Flemington on November 5 and the Group One Winterbottom in Perth on November 26, a race he has won twice in the past three years.

“We won’t be making any decision until after the Manikato. The other option is to return to Queensland for the Magic Millions carnival in January,” Heathcote said.

“Buffering will tell us which way to go and the horse is always the top priority.”

Buffering will be chasing his 20th win on Friday and his eighth at Group One level.

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